Friday, January 16, 2004

Frodo has failed: "If the [second world war] had inspired or directed the [war of the ring], the certainly the Ring would have been seized and used against Sauron; he would not have been annihilated but enslaved; and Barad-dur would not have been destroyed but occupied. Saruman, failing to get possession of the Ring, would in the confusion and treacheries of the time have found in Mordor the missing links in his own researches into Ring-lore, and before long he would have made a Great Ring of his own with which to challenge the self-styled Ruler of Middle Earth." - JRR Tolkien, foreward to 2nd editon LOTR.

Or, as an American pacifist (?) remarked after the end of the Second World War, one of the problems of the war is that the winner is convinced that violence works.

Lord Acton's famous axiom is that 'power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.' Such a view is not far distant from the stance of classical liberalism that power is susceptible to abuse and that therefore the complex of liberal democracy - a raft of checks and balances, laws and institutions, values and practices - is necessary in a truly free society to protect the public from injustice by state and government authority.

Chomsky has expressed this and given his particular expression of anarchist philosophy by saying "I think it only makes sense to seek out and identify structures of authority, hierarchy, and domination in every aspect of life, and to challenge them; unless a justification for them can be given, they are illegitimate, and should be dismantled, to increase the scope of human freedom."

One of the lasting effects of Chomsky will surely be that he will have been responsible for reviving and introducing Anarchism to millions of people around the world. In the 21st Century Anarchism will finally come into its own. It is a vital philosophy whose insights need to be absorbed and internalised by every person concerned with justice and rights.

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